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WETA's Mermaid ...


Feb 24 2009, 3:38pm

Post #1 of 11 (901 views)
WETA's Mermaid ... Can't Post

A lovely real-life story is unfolding ...



Peter Jacksonís Weta Workshop Unveils Real Life Mermaid On TVNZís Close Up
Multiple Oscar winning physical effects company, Weta Workshop is unveiling a project tonight on Close Up where they took an imaginary character from Peter Pan and turned her into a real life prosthetic to help a kiwi amputee.
The shift from fantasy to reality began two years ago when Auckland woman, Nadya Vessey wrote to Weta Workshop in Wellington asking if they would help her realise a life long dream and make her a fully functional mermaid tail so she could swim Ė Vessey lost both her legs as a child.

Elven x


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Superuser / Moderator

Feb 25 2009, 12:01am

Post #2 of 11 (464 views)
This is the coolest story ever. [In reply to] Can't Post

I love the photo of it on stuff.co.nz - right here.

I wonder how long it took her to get used to using it?

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.

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Forum Admin / Moderator

Feb 25 2009, 2:02am

Post #3 of 11 (403 views)
What a pic! [In reply to] Can't Post

She does look like the real thing!

What is most intriguing, is that they were able to make it functional, so she really can swim using it!

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

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Forum Admin / Moderator

Feb 25 2009, 3:34am

Post #4 of 11 (385 views)
You beat me to it! [In reply to] Can't Post

I saw that this morning. I thought it was wonderful - good old Weta! Cool

Figwit Still Lives!

Calling for a Figwit cameo in The Hobbit since May 2008


Feb 25 2009, 5:59am

Post #5 of 11 (396 views)
Going Away [In reply to] Can't Post

When they turn someone into a dragon call me... :)

But for now I take my leave from these forums... I shall change the Future..
the forums have served my purpose.

Thanks again for all those who helped this dragon out along the way.. you know who you are..

If you wish to contact me leave a PM message and ill get back to you. But I will not be singing on these forum again within the week.


Feb 25 2009, 2:30pm

Post #6 of 11 (398 views)
found the video [In reply to] Can't Post


First, I'm really moved that Weta would do this. Lovely people. :-)

Next, I'm not a swimmer (it seems like no matter what I do, I never get anywhere... just make a lot of splashes in the water) so I'm wondering...

It sounds like she was swimming before this and I would guess she used a variety of strokes but perhaps some weren't as productive without legs. Can she do a variety of strokes with this tail? Or does the tail movement (which precludes kicking the legs in opposition) limit her? I was waiting to see her swim and I don't feel I ever did. She did move through the water but only with that undulating motion. Can she keep that up for prolonged periods of time?

Swimmers on the board, please educate me.

It is a really beautiful thing. There's a nice picture in the article the front page linked to: http://www.stuff.co.nz/...11.html?source=email

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(This post was edited by Magpie on Feb 25 2009, 2:33pm)


Feb 25 2009, 3:32pm

Post #7 of 11 (347 views)
Oh man... that's wonderful! [In reply to] Can't Post

She's beautiful! And so is Weta. This just warms my heart. She's got freedom now and can glide through the water in a way I can only dream about.


"Barney Snow was here." ~Hug like a hobbit!~ "In my heaven..."

I really need these new films to take me back to, and not re-introduce me to, that magical world.

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Idril Celebrindal
Tol Eressea

Feb 25 2009, 8:41pm

Post #8 of 11 (366 views)
Swimming with a mermaid tail [In reply to] Can't Post

According to the video and article, Nadya Vessey has been swimming for a while and undoubtably does it because it is friendlier to amputees than most other sports. One of the competitors in the Olympic women's open water swim was an amputee, for instance. The water supports your body and your remaining limbs can compensate for the missing one(s).

As for the mechanics of swimming without lower legs, she wouldn't be able to kick very efficiently because she doesn't have the mechanical leverage that her lower legs and feet provide. This isn't an insurmountable problem by any means. Plenty of swimmers don't kick very much, since your arms and core body muscles provide most of your motive power.
(Triathletes are notorious for not wanting to use their legs while swimming.) One thing that might be a problem for her is maintaining good body position in strokes such as freestyle and backstroke. Flutter kicking helps your body to stay in an efficient position for these strokes. (Using a pull buoy could help there, since it would allow her upper legs to float in the correct position.) She also would not be able to push off the wall much on turns. But this wouldn't be an issue in open water swimming, which it sounds like she prefers.

"Undulating motion" pretty much describes the butterfly or dolphin kick. Imagine that you're cracking the whip with your entire body. This kick is pretty efficient and a good swimmer can keep it up indefinitely, even without the added mechanical assistance of a mermaid tail! As for what strokes she could swim with it, I saw her swimming breastroke with a dolphin kick during the video. (This is actually a drill that swimmers sometimes do to improve their breastroke, since breastroke involves an undulating motion.) The mermaid tail would make swimming butterfly infinitely easier for her, since she would get much more power from her kick. She could also do a single-armed butterfly and breathe to one side or the other. (This is another popular swimming drill.) The tail doesn't seem like it would be a big help in freestyle or backstroke, though, because they involve very different body motions.

All in all, it's a lovely piece of design -- practical, functional and beautiful at the same time! It will make swimming so much easier and fun for her. Hooray for Weta!

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(This post was edited by Idril Celebrindal on Feb 25 2009, 8:46pm)

Goldberry of the river

Feb 25 2009, 9:18pm

Post #9 of 11 (332 views)
Amazing [In reply to] Can't Post

The tail is so beautiful. I got quite choked watching the video. It was so nice and generous of Weta. I wanted to be a mermaid when I was little. I would swim under water like one by keeping my legs together and doing kind of like a whip movement, a bit like a dolphin. It's quite easy to do. As she said, she's still getting used to the tail and has to develop the muscles to enable her to do the variety of strokes. I wanted to see her dive down into the water and see the tail slap and disappear under the water. I'm guessing that because the tail takes in water it might become heavy and make her tired and only allow a short time in the water. But with practice and strengthening her muscles she could last longer.

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Forum Admin / Moderator

Feb 26 2009, 11:43pm

Post #10 of 11 (325 views)
That's really incredible [In reply to] Can't Post

I remember several years ago when WETA fashioned a prosthetic leg for a kiwi bird. That was sweet enough all by itself, but this is just amazing. Wow, that woman must feel so special. She's had a dream come true.

Those left standing will make millions writing books on the way it should have been. --Incubus

Tol Eressea

Feb 27 2009, 10:12pm

Post #11 of 11 (304 views)
What a great story [In reply to] Can't Post

Another reason why I love the guys at Weta...

*Jazminatar the Brown*


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